By Jennifer R Jones | Posted on March 01, 2010 10:30 AM
Even if you’ve never actually ridden the Roosevelt Island Tram, you may well have seen it, wending its way--sometimes majestically, sometimes shakily--across New York’s East River. Riders--and gawkers—had their last tram experience for a while yesterday (Sunday, Feb. 28) since the tram will be out of commission for the next six months, undergoing repairs and renovation. Service on the tram was suspended starting at 2 am today (March 1). The renovation project, which is estimated to cost $25 million, will overhaul everything except the three bases of the towers that support the cars. A backup power system will be in place should the cars malfunction, the way they did in the spring of 2006. Seventy passengers were left hanging (literally) for seven hours. In the event of such an emergency, the car will be able to return to the nearest station. Service should be more reliable when the cars are refitted--and the cars themselves will be more comfortable. Loading people on and off the trams, which carry more than two million people a year, will also be easier. So what are commuters to and from Roosevelt Island to do in the meantime? Put it like this: The Q102 bus, two shuttle buses, and the F train will become very familiar to them. Commuters, however, are concerned because not only does the renovation eliminate a convenient form of transportation, but many say the F train frequently doesn’t run. They should take heart, though: Service is supposed to resume September 3--just in time for the back-to school, after-summer rush.